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Better. Richard Griffin should know better. The same wannabe-GM who recommended Moises Alou as the best possible free-agent signing of last winter continues to vent madly in all directions. The Toronto Star columnist's latest begins with "some serious whining" (his words) about the changing baseball economy, but cites the contract of Joey Hamilton as evidence. Earth to Rich -- like you, Hamilton is incredibly lucky to have a job at all.

With nothing else to complain about, the bastion of credibility and fairness trots out the year-old Vernon Wells-as-DH plan as proof of the Jays' "posturing," gets his knickers in a twist over the idea of Little Cat playing RF, and whines on:

In fact, it says here that current second base starter Orlando Hudson, not a Ricciardi favourite (runs too much on the bases and at the mouth), will be dealt before the end of the spring and that Catalanotto will be returned to the infield.

"It says here," is true, and O-Dog is the current starter, but the rest of that sentence is merely the opinion of an increasingly unfunny clown who never lets "facts" get in the way of his agenda.
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Craig B - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 08:58 AM EST (#99693) #
Well, I do agree with Griffin that Cat's defence in right isn't necessarily going to help the team, and that they might be better off with someone else there.

With a young staff, the Jays would be very well-advised to back them up with a solid defence, and the easiest way to eliminate hits onballs in play is with good range in the outfield. Cat is pretty fast; whether he has good OF range is still not clear - and the Jays should (and do) have the flexibility to make a change should RF defence become a problem. I am always much less concerend with an OF throwing arm, which matters far less than the ability to go get fly balls and line drives... the fact that his arm isn't good doesn't worry me one bit.
Pistol - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 09:01 AM EST (#99694) #
The whining that Griffin referred to is from the agents, not him (well, at least in this instance). He was just using former Jays as examples of how money was spent poorly in the past, even describing Hamilton’s contract as ‘bloated’. He wrote that “Overall, the salary rollback governed by a sense of fiscal responsibility (agents say collusion) is good for the game.” I certainly don’t think he’s saying Hamilton deserves a big contract.

The problem with the article is that it lacks focus. It goes from: Players make less now, F-Cat is one of those players, F-Cat’s on the Jays now, Jays weren’t straight forward with the OF situation last year, therefore they won’t this year since F-Cat isn’t a traditional RF. Um, ok.

This is pretty funny: “When general manager J.P. Ricciardi signed the 28-year-old left-handed hitter, he handed him the starting right fielder's job, which had become vacant when the Jays made the incumbent, Cruz, a free agent by purposely not sending him a contract on time.” I like how he makes JP out to be the villain with that statement.

“The Jays in '03 will hit a lot of home runs”. I can’t say I’ve looked any of this up, but the impression I have of the Jays this year is not a HR mashing team. I’d guess they would be middle of the pack.

I think the statement that deserves more of a look is this one: “Still not sure how badly major-league players were hammered by last summer's new basic agreement?”

There’s no question that free agents are getting less than they have in the past. But is that a result of the new agreement, or a result of the economy and team’s restraint? The Yankees certainly haven’t been affected much by it. A few teams may try to be under the tax threshold where they otherwise would have spent more, but I think the overall impact of that is minimal. The tax isn’t even a consideration for at least 24 teams so I don’t think that they are acting differently now than they would have under the old CBA.
Dave Till - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 09:35 AM EST (#99695) #
Griffo's analysis of the RF and 2B situation, if you can call it that, leaves out one thing: Catalanotto is only signed for one year. If the Jays were to punt Hudson and install Cat at 2B, they would run the risk of not having anybody at second for 2004. (I assume that Russ Adams won't be anywhere near ready by then.)

I see Cat as insurance in case Hudson doesn't work out, just as Bordick is insurance in case Woodward turns back into a pumpkin. Having a right fielder who can also play other positions gives Tosca in-game flexibility, provides options in case of injury, and just generally adds depth to the roster.
Craig B - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 09:39 AM EST (#99696) #
If they Jays don't hit a lot of homers this year, they will not compete. They were sixth in the AL in home runs last year, in a good home run park... they hit 187 which was 11 above the league average. With Myers replacing Huckaby and Wilson's injury havign hopefully healed, a full year from Phelps, Delgado hopefully returning to form and full health, more Woodward and (to a lesser degree) Hudson and less Lawrence and Berg, I'd like to think that the 187 could be pushed to 200 or so, maybe more. Losing Cruz for Catalanotto will hurt slightly... I still think 200 will push the team to fourth or fifth in runs scored, from seventh.

That should be enough to get the team to .500... and higher, should the pitching staff exceed expectations.
_Shane - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 09:44 AM EST (#99697) #
The 'Other' Richard "Petty"

This columnist continues the ridiculous. I don't know who Richard Griffin thinks his readership is, but i'm guessing he stopped writting for adults some time ago. I guess Richard is like his 'good buddy' Joey Hamilton in a way, he too gets paid to do something he hasn't been very good at since '98.

It would seem this winter Griffin is extremely "pro-player" making these kinds of statements. For endlessly trying to cut the legs out from under Ricciardi's management, to some weird quest to justify that the working man/athlete should get paid at his peak salary value years after he's crapped out, it says here (tm) Richard is just a little more tiring and petty than yesterday.
_Kent - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 09:57 AM EST (#99698) #
I've agreed with Griffin before that the new fiscal responsibility bears a resemblance to the bad old days of collusion. I'm not saying it's as thorough -- Jack Morris got NO offers after a 20-win season, and Andre Dawson signed a blank contract -- but I didn't expect simultaneous sanity from so many previously goofy teams. I'm also on record as questioning Cat's suitability to RF, and wondered on this very blog if his arrival signalled Hudson's departure. Nothing wrong with the ideas, but the presentation is appalling.

My real beef is the headline -- "latest tall tale" is a cheap shot at J.P., as is the Livan Hernandez crack, essentially saying "yeah, right," immediately after he quotes Ricciardi. The Jays changed their mind about their DH situation a year ago, therefore the GM has no credibility? Only someone with an axe to grind could even go there, and he's trying, as always, to take the most gullible readers with him.
_Mick - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 10:12 AM EST (#99699) #
I've never read this Griffin character before, but calling Catalanotto a "natural infielder" is like calling Carlos Delgado a "natural catcher."

He came up as a 2B. He can hit. He is a natural hitter. No reasonably sane pitcher (Kelvim Escobar need not apply) would want Cat playing middle infield every day. Danny Tartabull came to the major leagues as a 2B. So did Ron Gant fercryinoutloud.

I would take Cat on any team, any time. But not as an everyday 2B, or even a regular platoon 2B.

I don't know how he'll work out in RF, but I see the guy as a Tony Phillips type player for the next 10 years. He can, and should, play nearly every day, sitting against bad matchups, hit first, second or ninth, and move around (in order of comfort) among DH, LF, 1B, RF, 3B and 2B. He is a human bench.
Craig B - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 10:38 AM EST (#99700) #
Tangent to end all tangents...

This blog is too nice. We're all so nice to each other. When we disagree, we do it respectfully.

This cannot stand, cannot last. Are we really so Canadian as this?
_Jordan - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 11:07 AM EST (#99701) #
Here's one of the reasons that Catalanotto and Stewart in the outfield corners probably doesn't worry JP too much: he's not building a flyball pitching staff. Here are the 2002 GB/FB ratios for five leading contenders for next year's rotation:


ESPN's stats bureau defines a groundball pitcher as anyone with a 1.5 ratio of greater,a flyball pitcher as anyone with a 1.0 ratio or less, and everyone in between as neutral. Roy Halladay is, of course, an extreme groundball picther, one of the most effective in the game. Cory Lidle is close enough to the 1.5 mark to be considered groundball-heavy. And the rest of the rotation, while neutral, lean towards groundball outs more than flyball outs. This means, among other things, that Chris Woodward's range and glove likely will have a greater impact on this team than Frank Catalanotto's.

There's cause for concern, however, when it comes to the latest addition to the staff:


Tanyon Sturtze may want to see about getting the Skydome fences moved out this year.
_Kent - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 11:11 AM EST (#99702) #
Gosh darn it, Craig, you sonofagun, quit calling us nice.

Mick, love the Human Bench line; watch for it (unattributed, of course) on ESPN. Here is a partial list of Griffin's Greatest Hits, all of which are below the belt, and if you still crave more, here you go. (That's the thread where we discussed an organized campaign of complaints, only to drop the idea during the holidays.)
_Dan ODowd - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 11:16 AM EST (#99703) #
Hmm, an extreme groundball pitcher, not yet 26, who happens to be a Denver boy. Better than Hampton or Neagle. Wonder if he'd take $200 million for 10 years?
_Jordan - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 11:40 AM EST (#99704) #
Actually, Hampton is quite the groundball pitcher himself, not that it helped him at Coors. Here are the top 10 GB pitchers in the majors last year, which Hampton just missed (he's # 11):

Derek Lowe, 3.46
Roy Halladay, 2.74
Brian Lawrence, 2.51
Greg Maddux, 2.23
Tim Hudson, 2.03
Kenny Rogers 2.02
Kip Wells, 1.98
Vincente Padilla, 1.98
Chuck Finley, 1.77
Miguel Batista, 1.74

If San Diego ever got careless and undervalued Brian Lawrence, I'd be on him faster (as they used to say) than Oprah on a baked ham.
_Matthew Elmslie - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 04:25 PM EST (#99705) #
Actually I believe Catalanotto's here for two years. His contract is only for one, but he'll be a day shy of being eligible for free agency at that point, so the Jays can take him to arbitration for the next year.

Griffin ignores, in his brief discussion of the offense, that the Jays are going to be getting on base like crazy (theoretically), and that offense is just as important as pitching+defense.
_Kent - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 04:50 PM EST (#99706) #
Matthew, my impression is that J.P. & Co. consider offence, especially in the AL, even more important than pitching. Defence, while not quite an afterthought, is a lower priority. Wells is the only exceptional glove man among the everyday players, although Woody's OK and Myers is better than people think. Hudson can be brilliant, but he's inconsistent. This team isn't built to win 2-1, but against righties, they will start nine very good hitters. We all know Griffin's capable of ignoring anything to "prove" his tired, lame arguments.

You are correct about Cat's contract; it's the best of both worlds for the Jays. If he's great, it's like a two-year deal, but if not, he'll just get non-tenderized.
_jason - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 06:23 PM EST (#99707) #
I think the fact that Wells is an exceptional defensive CF takes some of the pressure off in terms of who's in LF and RF. The Braves don't seem to worry about having Sheff or Chipper on the corners since Andruw gets to 90% of everything anyways.

If Cat has at least an average arm I think he will be fine in RF. He has speed so he should be able to cut off anything Wells can't get to. Hey, the Jays played Dave Berg in RF a few times last year, and honestly, he was no Mondesi but he was fine. (Aren't the Astros going to be playing Biggio in Right or Left this year?)

I'll miss having a CF in RF, Cruz, but Cats OBP should surely make up for a few outfield assists.

As for Hudson, I'm not convinced that JP hasnt gotten to like him a bit more. He did chose to deal Lopez over Hudson in the end, and from what Ive seen from JP Id guess that if he didnt like Hudson as much as Griffin says he would have been dealt long ago. He hits, he catches, he runs. Whats not to love?
_jason - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 06:25 PM EST (#99708) #
Excellent work Jordan.
Pistol - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 06:48 PM EST (#99709) #
I look at F-Cat's contract as a pure 1 year contract. I understand the Jays can give him arbitration after the season, but if F-Cat has a good year they'll run into the same problem next year that they faced with Cruz this year. That is, his arbitration value will be higher than his value to the Jays.

I think the only way he's with the Jays after this season is if they work out a multi-year deal. I wouldn't be shocked to see that, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him replace Stewart in LF in 2004.
_Richard - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 06:53 PM EST (#99710) #
Another reason I despise Griffin is his cowardice! Check out the major columnists with the Star;Damien Cox,Chantal Herbert,Richard Gwynn they all include their E-Mail Address with their columns.The sports writers at the Sun when doing commentary include their, E-Mail addresses,the same for the Globe and the National Post.

Griffen tosses out his evil blunderbus under a viel of anonimity.If you want to confront him with his dubious tripe ,how does one contact this fellow? Obviously "Dick " and his employer don't stand by this shallow blathering.
_Richard - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 07:28 PM EST (#99711) #
Whew, glad I got that off my chest.You've got to love the evolution of the internet(and this sight in particular).Guys like us can by-pass the established media and gather a great deal of information on something we all love.

I second the general opinion that footspeed and range on artificial turf is more important than throwing arm,can't wait to see how the "cat" does in the field.

As for Halliday;should he be locked up for 4 years much as the A's have done with Zito/Hudson et.all.My understanding is that he's arbitration controlled for the next 3 years. J.P. may take him year to year for fear of arm injury.On the other hand, the tongue in cheek Dan O Dowd comment is valid,will Roy if not locked up, be too expensive for the home-side?
_Ryan Adams - Friday, January 10 2003 @ 08:14 PM EST (#99712) #
Griffen tosses out his evil blunderbus under a viel of anonimity.If you want to confront him with his dubious tripe ,how does one contact this fellow?


I don't know if he'll read it and respond to you (I've written him once or twice and never heard anything back), but E-Mails will go through to that address.
Pistol - Saturday, January 11 2003 @ 10:09 AM EST (#99713) #
There's an article in the Star today about the Jays roster & payroll. Sounds like the Jays want to add another Sturtze.

As for Halladay, he's arbitration eligible for the next 3 years. JP said that an extension would be considered after this season.
Coach - Saturday, January 11 2003 @ 11:33 AM EST (#99714) #
Pistol, that now has its own thread; thanks.

Richard & Ryan, I doubt that a guy whose every column about the Jays is filled with the same innuendo and venom cares what his readers think; cowardice is indeed a big part of his shtick, as is an almost palpable envy. If anyone does contact him, invite him here for a discussion that will alleviate Craig's concerns about us being too nice.
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